Vila Nova de Milfontes history
Vila Nova de Milfontes is a village of the Alentejo region. It used to be a fishing village but over the last few years it has become a tourist destination.
Vila Nova de Milfontes used to be a small fishing village from the Alentejo coast. Nowadays is a charming tourist destination with incredible hotels and restaurants. Vila Nova de Milfontes has amazing beaches like Furnas, one of my top 10 Alentejo beaches, and a cool ambience. Yet, the village has more to offer visitors, namely a rich and ancient history.
The rich history of Vila Nova de Milfontes
Standing by the fertile margins of the Mira River, Vila Nova de Milfontes is inhabited since the Neolithic. Proof of this are the many archaeological traces found on the area. Other archaeological findings reveal that the Romans were here during the Hispania (Iberian Peninsula) occupation.
During the early years of the XIII century the border between the Moorish territories and the ones controlled by the Christian during the Reconquista was set north of the Mira River. When the Moors where finally expelled from the Portuguese lands, Alentejo was almost deserted. Therefore, King Afonso III donated lands to the Order of Santiago as a reward for the role played during the Reconquista. In 1486 King John II chartered a new village at place called Milfontes. He aimed to develop commercial trade on the area. In fact, the region was often attacked by corsairs. These attacks were especially intense during the XVI and XVIII centuries. The fortress of São Clemente, Vila Nova de Milfontes’ castle, was built in the XVI century to stop the attacks.
Vila Nova de Milfontes remained as a small fishing village for centuries. Then the Portuguese discovered its touristic potential. And Vila Nova de Milfontes grew in importance. Although the development caused by the touristic increase, the village kept the old charm.
The origin of the name Vila Nova de Milfontes
Vila Nova de Milfontes was built on a site called Milfontes. Therefore, Vila Nova (New Village) was added to the early name.
Milfontes means literally “Thousands of Fountains”. Thus, the word refers to the many water springs existing on the area.
Where is Vila Nova de Milfontes
Main Image Credits
- Photo by Galeria de carlosoliveirareis